One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A herbaceous plant of the rose family, with globular pinkish flower heads and leaves composed of many small leaflets.
Genus Sanguisorba, family Rosaceae: several species, including the edible salad burnet (S. minor), which is often cultivated, and the spiny thorny burnet (S. spinosum), common in the eastern Mediterranean
- ‘I use thyme, sage, rosemary, chives, basil, dill, sorrel, salad burnet, chervil, oregano and mint as well as parsley.’
- ‘There is always room to include Italian and curly parsley, sorrel, salad burnet, mustard, chard, and kale greens.’
- ‘Some of our favorites are the long, skinny French radishes, French purslane, arugula, mache, salad burnet, lemon verbena, leeks and, of course, all kinds of tomatoes.’
- ‘On his menu you might find scallops with lemon verbena infused oil, Brie flavored with burnet, potato and chive griddle cakes and peach cobbler sweetened with stevia.’
- ‘Species present include great burnet, meadowsweet, greater spearwort, tubular water-dropwort and pepper-saxifrage.’
2A day-flying moth that typically has greenish-black wings marked with crimson spots.
Zygaena and other genera, family Zygaenidae
- ‘The six-spot burnet moth is brightly coloured and is active by day.’
- ‘A handful of the first Burnet Moths of the year were seen on Lancing Ring meadows and around the dewpond.’
- ‘In June the Burnet moths begin to emerge.’
Middle English (denoting a kind of dark brown woolen cloth): from Old French brunete, burnete (denoting brown cloth or a plant with brown flowers), diminutives of brun ‘brown’.
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